Earth Today | USAID, CDB partner to deliver energy management training
THE UNITED States Agency for International Development (USAID) Caribbean Clean Energy Programme (CARCEP), together with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), recently launched the Caribbean Energy Manager (CEM) Training and Capacity Building Programme in Bridgetown, Barbados.
The training - delivered by the Jamaica Society of Energy Engineers, led by its president, Owen Gunning, and which benefitted 25 people - was made possible with help from the Canadian Support to the Energy Sector in the Caribbean Fund and the Barbados Renewable Energy Association (BREA).
The 25 trainees, including five females, were drawn from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Two webinars were held in advance to prepare participants for the formal training, which is to be followed by the administration of the CEM examination.
The CEM designation is a US-based international certification offered through the Association of Energy Engineers and has become the international industry standard for practitioners operating as energy managers. This is also the case in the Caribbean.
CDB and USAID CARCEP have identified capacity strengthening and awareness building as critical areas for the transformation of the energy sector.
"In CDB's energy efficiency work, we have seen and felt the need for regional certified energy management specialists, both for the conduct of quality, investment-grade audits and for energy management systems that improve the sustainability of an investment," said Tessa Williams-Robertson.
"Once a building is retrofitted, we need to manage and monitor the results of the initiatives. How are our buildings performing on the energy front? How has our energy-use culture changed? Building awareness of how we consume energy, and changing the behaviour of our people to encourage smart relationships with energy, are all part of our mission," she added.
LACK OF TRAINING A HINDRANCE
Referencing observations made during the early stages of USAID's scoping mission in the Caribbean, John Marcocchio, energy efficiency promotion specialist with USAID CARCEP, said: "The lack of trained energy managers throughout the region is a major impediment to the implementation of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Making available this first regional CEM training programme will go a long way towards addressing this deficiency".
Having CEMs in every country in the region will provide a much-needed resource to assist the private sector, which will open the door for financial institutions to support these projects, advance the region's adoption of sustainable sources of energy, and reduce dependency on fossil fuels," he added.
Meshia Clarke, executive director of BREA, thanked the development partners "for their vision and foresight in recognising the importance of such a programme and for providing the necessary funding support".
At the same time, she noted the need for governments to move with haste to take the necessary actions to accelerate growth and penetration of renewables.
Prior to this intervention, outside of Jamaica, the CEM certification training was offered once in the region and targeted only electric utility staff.